Wednesday, September 10, 2014

I'm Pretty Sure



David Brooks just blamed ISIS on Woodstock.

It's a little twisty, but follow me,,,

First, for some reason, after a mercifully long coma that Americans were really kinda hoping was leading to a quiet departure from the vale of tears, the NYT instead decided to put 50,000 volts through it's terrible "Conversation" op-ed featurette and bring their excruciating, weekly failure at lighthearted banter mimicry back from the brink of a merciful death.

Why?

Well, apparently to give David Brooks one more forum for presenting another chapter of his Grand, Unified Theory of How Hippies Fucked Up Everything.

First, Mr. Brooks presents us with a vast and ineffable World Order made out of pure "Things Were So Much Better When William Randolph Hearst and J.P. Morgan Were Running Things":
David: ...Over the past few years the United States has been guilty of an embarrassing glaring omission. A succession of presidents has neglected to shore up the global state system.
Now I'm just an idiot blogger with no idea what a "global state system" even looks like or where I could buy spare parts for one, so there I am, feeling all left out and stupid.

But...

Bu you know who else has no idea what a "global state system" looks like from quite a long way away?  Mr. Brooks' dance partner, Gail Collins, who is funny, often quite perceptive and helluva good sport for subjecting herself to this awkward weekly indignity.
Gail: Stop a second. When people bring up terms like “global state system,” I tend to blank out. Perhaps it’s like you with Dickens. But please, rephrase. Do you mean the United Nations and NATO or just a general working-together by countries of good will?
And would you know it, it turns out there is at least one other person besides me and Gail Collins in this conversation who can't figure out just what exactly a "global state system" might be.  And that person is...David Brooks:  a man who teaches at Yale and lectures at TED but can't come up with a definition for his own fucking term that doesn't sound ridiculous.  All I learned was that, like Pookas and the Little Man Who Wasn't There --
Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn't there.
He wasn't there again today,
I wish, I wish he'd go away...
 -- a "global state system" is actually an invisible thing:
David: The hard part is explaining to the American people what the system is. You can barely see it or feel it. But it is the unconscious background for everybody’s behavior, the good guys as well as the bad guys.
And it is powered largely by "instinct" --
David: I’d put it this way. In the past, maintaining the global state system was almost instinctual for presidents.,,
-- and "reflexes":
David: ...These leaders had a reflexive commitment to global institutions that contributed to global regularity and order. 
Golly David!  Then what happened?
David: ...Leaders of this generation know how much effort it took to tend to these institutions.

But baby boomers — yes, this is another thing people can blame our generation for — did not grow up with that consciousness.
Because while David Brooks' stipulative definition of a "global state system" may be "An invisible being which runs on gut feelings and moonbeams and is in charge of the world", operationally it is simply "A means by which David Brooks can blame more shit on hippies".

I like to think that one day in that great League of Nations Assembly Hall in the sky, Mr. Brooks will get a chance to discuss his novel theories abut the stability and sanctity of the Old World Order with the likes of, say, Mohammad Mosaddegh  and Salvador Allende.  Perhaps while enjoying an operetta based on the Hay–Bunau-Varilla Treaty.

Anyway, from there, it's just a short toboggan ride down "Both Sides Mountain" --
David: ..but let me continue on this theme. The decline in the management of this global system came from the right: George W. Bush’s weak coalition building skills —and from the left: President Obama’s tendency to withdraw to attend to nation-building at home.
-- by which time you should be almost ready to pin ISIS on Jane Fonda and Putin on that god damn rock and roll.

To her credit, Gail Collins does try to good-naturedly tap the brakes on Mr. Brooks fatuous claptrap all along the way --
Gail: That’s a nice way of putting it. By “attend to nation-building at home,” I presume you mean “wrestling with the crazed domestic right wing.”
-- but at this point there is no longer any force on Earth strong enough to pry the Sage of the Acela Corridor's many, terrible ideas out of his humble, humble hands.


10 comments:

Frank Stone said...

Perhaps a "global state system" is like The Force from Star Wars.

"The Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It's an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us, it penetrates us, it binds the galaxy together."

"Remember, a Jedi can feel The Force flowing through him."
"You mean it controls your actions?"
"Partially. But it also obeys your commands."

Kathleen said...

What in the hell was he talking about? Loved Collins' last comeback that you quoted. Indeed.

Anonymous said...

Good morning, Mr. Glass.

"Unfortunately, no one can be told what the global state system is. You have to see it for yourself."

---Morpheus, paraphrased.

I also thought this was quite thought-provoking...

"I do wonder if we would have bombed Japan if we knew everybody in Hiroshima had a smart phone."

Enjoy your day.

---Kevin Holsinger

Pete said...

By golly yes, it took over 20,000,000 dead Rooskis to make sure the international institutions got tended to in the mid-1940s. I'm sure Mr Brooks will get right on that prerequisite.

Neo Tuxedo said...

I like to think that one day in that great League of Nations Assembly Hall in the sky, Mr. Brooks will get a chance to discuss his novel theories abut the stability and sanctity of the Old World Order with the likes of, say, Mohammad Mosaddegh and Salvador Allende.

I suspect Jacobo √Ārbenz would like to stick his two quetzals in.

[T]here is no longer an[y] force on Earth strong enough to pry the Sage of the Acela Corridor's many, terrible ideas [...] out of his humble, humble hands.

In the words of a great English poet, old Charlie stole the handle, and the train just won't stop going, no way to slow down.

dinthebeast said...

Sulzberger: The semi-digestible product made by grinding up the souls of actual journalists.

-Doug in Oakland

Kathleen said...

@Doug in Oakland

And given there seem to be so very few of those left, the product contains mostly filler, which is probably the digested output of those who pundicrap.

Lawrence said...

Transcript from the Better Universe-
Gail: You mean the Westphalian system, right, David? Because the greatest threat to that order is globally mobile capital. Your friends from Davos and Aspen. Or did you mean The Great Game, from before WWI? Because that bequeathed to us such glorious dividends as Iraq, Syria, well, the entire desert where all of those turbulent people live on top of the oil. Surely you didn't mean the Cold War international order. Can we all just agree we're better off without it?

John Polansky said...

Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at yer side, kid.

CM said...

In today's column Brooks blames the inability to control Ebola on hippies.